The Commissioner publishes a letter today in which he calls on the French senators to improve the bill strengthening internal security and anti-terrorism measures so as to bring it fully into line with Council of Europe standards, particularly the case-law of the European Court of Human Rights.
The Commissioner stresses the need to ensure that the bill does not result in the indefinite extension of the state of emergency. He also draws the senators’ attention to certain provisions which he considers to be problematic, particularly those giving prefects powers to set up protective perimeters within which searches and frisking can be organised, which have previously always been subject to a judicial order. He is concerned about the lack of detailed criteria and adequate legal safeguards governing these powers and the possibility of closing down places of worship in which statements are made which constitute incitement to commit acts of terrorism or violence.
The Commissioner is also worried about the possibility of placing persons suspected of posing a particularly serious threat to public safety and order under house arrest or electronic surveillance without any detailed criteria in this respect having been prescribed by the law.
“Terrorism poses a serious threat to human rights and democracy and states have a duty to take measures to prevent and punish terrorist activities effectively. However, any restriction on individual freedoms must be strictly necessary to protect the public and proportionate to the legitimate aim pursued” points out the Commissioner in his letter.